Racial makeup of Metro Schools changing

Monday, November 5, 2007 at 11:54pm

The population of white students in Metro Nashville Public Schools is continuing to decline, according to recent data from the Tennessee Department of Education, in what one school board member on Monday referred to as a 13-year-long “exodus.”

In the 2006-2007 school year, 28,483 students considered by the district to be “white” were enrolled in Nashville’s public schools, making up 36.2 percent of Metro’s 70,140 students, according to the 2007 Tennessee Department of Education Report Card of public schools.

That’s a decline of 1,477 students from last year, and equal to about a 10 percent decline in white students since reported figures in 2004, according to Report Card information. Ten years ago, the 1997 Report Card reported that 54.1 percent of Metro’s 69,588 students were white, or about 37,650 students.

School board member David Fox, of the Hillsboro district, said Metro’s population of white students has declined by about 1,100 students annually for about the last 13 years.

“There’s been a significant exodus of white students,” Fox said. “I don’t think that the underlying demographics of the county explain it.”

Anecdotal evidence, Fox said, suggests members of this group of students are moving to private schools, and to schools outside of Davidson County.

Claire Smrekar, a Vanderbilt University researcher, said about 18 to 19 percent of Davidson County kids are enrolled in private schools, according to a study completed about two years ago.

Interviews with community members and school board members, at the time of the study, indicated that percentage had stayed about the same since the 1970s, when court-ordered desegregation, Smrekar said, “triggered a period of white flight either out of the county or into private schools.”

Statistics in the 2007 Report Card indicated another noteworthy change in the racial mix of Metro schools — the number of students reported as “black” declined slightly, in what school board member George Thompson of the North Nashville district said is the first decline in the number of that student population in many years.

“The black population had been increasing, and correspondingly the white population had been decreasing,” Thompson said. “[Now,] the white population is leaving. The black population, for the most part, is remaining static…. We have a majority minority school system.”

In the meantime, Thompson said, the district’s population of students reported as “Hispanic” has “exploded” — Metro Nashville had 10,467 Hispanic students enrolled last year, a 9.1 increase from last year, according to information from the Report Card.

Thompson said he considers a broad racial mix desirable, and that he prefers to see, “a high degree of diversity, rather than have pockets of different ethnic groups concentrated in certain areas.”

Fox — along with Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Education Officer Marc Hill — said a goal of the district should be continued improvement of public schools for all students, and improving school performance to the extent that all kinds of families believe public schools meet their needs.

“The ability to adequately fund schools depends in part on having a broad spectrum of the population,” Fox said. “It would be preferable to see market acceptance of schools. A lot of taxpayers can vote with their feet or their checkbooks.”

Hill said, “We are very interested in making sure our schools are a viable option for every student in the city…. Clearly we’re at a crossroads where we need to make more dramatic progress in improving all of our schools.”

Filed under: City News
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By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The public school system in Davidson County (and perhaps the entire south) has worked very hard to make public education a part of the welfare system. This article is their report card.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The issue is black and white, the illegals are takeing over and the quality of the system is breaking down even more then it was before."Diversity" is not a good thing when you are introduceing foreign nationals and their children who broke into the country. For a country to survive you need borders,culture and language in common or we will wind up with the "diversity" of the Balkins and we all know how that turned out.If you are teaching in 2 languages that means that you are basically teaching 1/2 what you were teaching before and that wasn't good enough.Crime specifically homocides are explodeing and this is just the tip of the iceberg of more problems to come if we don't reverse the trend. Our country is falling apart whether you want to admit it or not. Our educational system is at the bottom rather then at the top where it was and should be even with all the "money" we are throwing into the system.Who can blame citizens from fleeing this system as they are fleeing the city itself?Simple,cheap,quick solution, school vouchers to introduce competition to a system that is on life support.The trend is down and will continue unless we put the brakes on and shift into reverse.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

White Flight is just hitting Nashville a few decades later than it hit everywhere else.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

unfortuneately when a school become predominately black and poor it changes and changes for the worst.. white parents wont vote out the libs and such, they simply move to white counties and school districts. they vote with their feet.so you can bus, you can sue for segregation but until the black community really shows that they care about education and the predominatley black schools are not miniprisions, there will always be this divide.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank you, Mayor Bill Purcell and crew for destroying Nashville, Tennessee with “diversity”.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

As we rapidly engage our global competitors (who are taking the education of their children seriously) and quality education becomes more critical than ever; why would you not think that responsible parents are going to vote with their wallets and feet - so to speak - and provide the best opportunity for their children to get the best education? Tomorrow is not on the horizon; it is at High Noon.

By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BugPapa, truancy????? If a teenager doesn't want to remain in school then let him out to go to work and give him a choice of a GED or school later. Athletes do it when they abandon college for pro ball. They can return to college later.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It is all just a different slant on socialism/communism where everyone is dependent on the government for their needs.

By: MsTyphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I shall not stomach the opinions on this article for the rest of the day, its only Tuesday...

By: MsTyphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

From the looks of your grammer BIgPaps you must have gone to one of those wretched predominately black schools....ok im done b/c there is no reasoning with you people. So good day to all, even to those that smite me!

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm just curious about how all the racists used to vent before internet message boards...

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Believe it or not I think if the schools (and the city) are going to be saved they will be saved by a Black Revolt.The whites can flee they have to fight or die. Out in Ca they are being displaced block by block, house by house, job by job.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, those are some very astute comments. You can get the white parents back in the fold by returning to neighborhood schools....I hardly see neighborhood schools adding anything of real value for the intellectual & financial have nots. We must all remember that throughout history that democracies only work when there are more haves than have nots...Over the next 50 years we should see a nation where the have nots outnumber the haves. Gated communities only last as long as the masses allow them to last. When the haves can no longer support the have nots the gates will come down and anarchy will rage throughout the land.. A good entrance point for dictatorship.

By: howelln on 12/31/69 at 6:00

And yet, I have students who live in Williamson County and sneak into Metro schools.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

MsTyphani, unfortunately many of these jerks are missing that diversity provides some of the best real life education you can get. And it helps create understanding and tolerance by helping kids have friendships with those of different backgrounds and heritages. I bet many of these whiners do not have friends of color or different backgrounds. So sad for them to live in such a narrow world.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I have a friend who lives in Davidson, owns a 2nd home in Williamson, so she drives across the border to the better school system. Why in the world would you want to enroll your child in a "drop-out factory" anyway? Those of us w/$ will continue to enroll our kids in DCA or other schools given the chance. The language spoken in those schools in English.And most importantly, I had my 9 yr old participate in soccer at the YMCA, but the coach could only yell in Spanish when the kids were on the field, so he finally dropped out, just like the other white kids. Don't tell me there isn't an invasion in progress.... my son was a victim of it.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"So sad for them to live in such a narrow world."Spare me. So are you one of those "Some of my best friends are black" folks? Or one of the people that spews off the "we are all equal I love everybody" talk but you live in Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, etc... in short a hypocrite.Send you kid to Stratford or Whites Creek HS and I bet you change your tune.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, I grew up in South Chicago and I live in Woodbine.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I attended a rough mixed race school. However, I didn't grow up to be one of the white flight bigots. My world isn't that narrow.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

well I'm east nashville, and while it is a great place to be, what consistantly keeps this area down is the "bad schools" i.e. schools full of poor blacks.A lot of the hipsters like the east side, but once they get married and have a kid within 5 years they are packing off to the burbs.Is that racism? or is it simply wanting the best thing for your kid? I know I'd hate the idea of my kid going to a school full of thugs, so I can't say I blame them for packing off to brentwood etc...

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

the 2 families across the street from me are black.... so what is your point? We in the burbs only desire the best for our babies... no drive-by shootings, no drugs, no swearing. Please give us that much, and we'll raise them to be faithful Christians, respectful of their elders, and we'll teach them to give to the community, just like we were taught. Old Hickory has become quite diverse, minus the violence and disrepect, thank you.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

two whole black families! wow, that IS diverse.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

so you teach your kids to be good faithful christians (without any exposure to other belief systems because hey, who needs it, right?), give to their community (wealthy community with all the social economic advantages) just like you were taught.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

So Blanket what exactly do you disagree with me on my original post? I don't think I said anything that isn't pretty well known.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

hey Blanket, you need a therapist, SERIOUSLY.... you have a major huge chip on your shoulder, and it's breaking you down.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, abandoning communities with problems does not help anything. Uniting with your neighbors and working together helps solve these problems. Girlie, ad hominem is pathetic. Go get yourself a therapist.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"We need a serious truancy policy that holds both the student and parent accountable." What does that even mean? It sounds good, but enforcement is impossible. What are going to do, put the parents in jail? Fine them? Take the kids away and put them in state custody?

By: Magnum on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I say put them in jail. Parents and students alike. It's probably cheaper than educating them and it gets them off the streets. Besides, people learn all sorts of useful skills in jail...just ask the large number of metro students who have already been there. In reality, you are right BigPapa, and I don't have an answer. That's why I work in the private sector. But are these not issues that our highly paid educational leaders should be looking to resolve?

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Those are big words, but hard to live by. So do you sacrifice your child's education for the sake of diversity? What do you do when your kid is too scared to go to school because of gangs or racial intimidation?

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What? Does the truth hurt THAT bad tiphani?Sorry but show me one school that is predominatly poor and black that is high performing and maybe people's opinions will change. But just not stating the obvious, (while unpopular) is not the answer either.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, I grew up attending a rough school. You learn a lot of life lessons which are invaluable. If your kid is scared, go to the school and address each individual incident as it arises. I can tell you from experience that kids who didn't want to attend class would exaggerate things going on at school and tell their parents that it was "too scary." Work with the issues instead of running away.

By: tiphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well at the tender age of 24 I am without children, however, the problem/issue with education is not the race of people who are in the schools, it is the QUALITY of education in the public schools. Quality of education also consists of the school's disciplinary procedures to combat these problems you see with "gangs" and "racial intimidation".To correlate education with race is a racist, ignorant, bigoted ideology.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Sheltering your kids instead of teaching them how to deal with life's challenges isn't necessarily the best answer. You have to face those challenges someday, why not help your children learn those things early?

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

So gangs and racial intimidation go hand-in-hand with minority students? I guess the people calling you a racist did know what they were talking about, BigPapa.BTW, to whomever was singing the praises of Old Hickory, you're a bit delusional. Old Hickory is full of poverty and massive, neighborhood crippling drug addiction. It's not called the "white trash ghetto" for no reason.

By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

You get what you reward. Access to the best of the metro schools offerings is based on lottery rather than merit. Those with choices are fools to subject their children to the whims of a lottery drawing. The effect of attempts of "diversity" and racial preferences have destroyed the Metro School system.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

excellent point, tiphani!

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"So gangs and racial intimidation go hand-in-hand with minority students?"ahhh the answer is a resounding YES.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Well you're too delusional and racist to even discuss the subject then.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OkWell I' think i dealing with the idealism of 20 year olds here. Well see what happens later when you have kids, have to worry about property values, etc.."To correlate education with race is a racist, ignorant, bigoted ideology" Then why are liberal so worried about having "diversity."

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

idealism of 20 year olds - lol! That's a good one.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

So do you really believe that there are more gangs associated with white suburban schools than inner city schools full of blacks?

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The problem facing Nashville and other large cities is how do they continue to fund education as the middle class tax base continues to dwindle? The solution other states have chosen is to raise property taxes statewide or sales tax statewide or use an income tax to meet the shortfall. But, as usual noone is discussing this problem, instead we are focusing on how many white children are going to school with black children or how the schools are going to pot because we can't all go to school with white middle-class children.

By: tiphani on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Dear BigPaps, I think your just jealous because I am a black~indian 24 year old girl and I am smarter than you...b/c think about it, you would have never known unless I told you...Love, tiphani c.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OkYou must ask yourself. Why are 1500 or so people pulling their kids out of Nashville schools every year? If it's not race what is it? I'm sure the teachers in Sumner county graduated from the same schools and those in Davidson. They are probably just as smart, but something magical happens when folks move across the county line.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

that's a good point, cowboy. but if you ask for tax money around here folks flip a lid. but you get what you pay for.

By: JeffF on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm sorry but I really need someone to list the urban school systems where "diversity" has worked and the schools are all or at least mostly a success. The only urban school systems I can think of are all utter failures (Memphis, Birmingham, KC, Atlanta....). Yet we have a teachers' union and school administrators all determined to walk the same diversity path to failure. At least a plan with school choice and vouchers would be a different path. The tired path being chosen by the overpaid administrators and teachers in every urban school district has proven itself harmful for all children, black, white, and Hispanic. Urban districts are the primary reason Kennedy and Bush push No child Left Behind. Big city school employees thrive on the gravy train while the children are left behind.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, the differences in behavior are based on income levels not race. Suburban areas are wealthy, therefore their kids don't feel as much need to steal or join gangs. Not only that but because they're wealthy their schools are better funded (higher pool of tax dollars) and higher quality.Race correlates to poverty, because of the history of this country and enforced segregation followed by "white flight" voluntary segregation, but does not cause it.The differences you point out between different types of school are correct, but blaming those differences on race is abysmally incorrect.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-927/peer.htmFood for thought.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'll give you that. It's certainly more of a class vs race thing.

By: khughes4god on 12/31/69 at 6:00

My children attended Goodlettsville Middle where they were only a few of the kids who lived in the area, most were bussed in from north Nashville. They couldn't get together with kids and form any friendships because they didn't live nearby. When they moved to Hunters Lane, just about anyone with money, moved out so their kids could go to Sumner County or Robertson County or they placed them in private schools. We stayed because Hunters Lane has a program that is better than any private-school education: the International Baccalaureate program or IB. My son will graduate next year and already has colleges knocking down the door to get him because of his academic achievements. Many schools will take his IB classes as his freshman year of college and enroll him as a sophomore. The IB program is open to all, but very few last in it. What is the difference? Involved parents who place a high importance on education. Parents who have taught their children that getting an education is vital to their future. This isn't something a social program can fix. This summer my son volunteered at Hunters Lane for the summer school program. Some days because of other commitments, he couldn't get there until after the program had begun. Often there were scores of parents still bringing their kids in over an hour late for a program designed to keep them from failing! Your child is failing and you don't get up on time to get them to school? Before IB my son would complain that other students made it hard to learn because they would goof off so much that the entire classes would be penalized for the behavior of a few. The learning environment in some schools is so horrendous because there are kids no one can control and parents who don't care. No social program will fix that. Parents have to want their kids to get an education and children have to be taught that education is important. You can throw millions of dollars at the problem and it won't make a difference.